Agenda item

To be presented by Dr Jane O’Grady, Director of Public Health.


The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on every aspect of our lives. As well as the direct impacts of COVID-19 disease, the social distancing and lockdown measures have had a huge impact on the lives and livelihoods of people.  This in turn can have a profound impact on population health and wellbeing in the short term and for many years after the pandemic has ended. 


·       The Health and Wellbeing Board is asked to notethe high level findings from the Health Impact Assessment and approve the emerging priorities of the Health and Wellbeing Recovery plan.

·       Health and Wellbeing Board members are asked to contribute to the recovery plan and define the actions their organisations will take to support the priorities in the HWB Recovery plan.



Dr O’Grady reported that Buckinghamshire had had a lower rate of Covid-19 cases than the national average; the cumulative rate since the beginning of the pandemic was 418 cases per 100,000 compared with England’s rate of 708 per 100,000.  There had been 2,278 cases and 412 deaths in Buckinghamshire.  Cases were highest nationally and locally in black and ethnic minority (BAME) groups and the death rates were highest in older people.


Covid-19 had a direct and indirect effect; the direct effect was the illness itself; however, long-covid had emerged and approximately 2% of people could have symptoms lasting over 90 days.  Isolation and other factors, such as the widening of the education gap, the economic downturn and the reluctance of people seeking healthcare during the pandemic also had far reaching effects.  There had been some positives in that there had been a growth in community spirit and a temporary improvement in the environment.


A Health Impact Assessment (HIA) was carried out via a residents’ survey.  A schools’ survey was also undertaken and the results were being analysed.  The key findings were that mental wellbeing was a concern; 25% of respondents felt their physical health had deteriorated; 22% had increased their alcohol intake; 20% were eating a less healthy diet and 20% had finance/debt concerns.


The key priorities which needed to be addressed in the health and wellbeing recovery plan were listed on slide 23.  Dr O’Grady emphasised that this would require effort from all partners; more community engagement and building resilience in our communities would complement the service redesign and recovery plans that the NHS and local authorities would be implementing.  A ‘health in all policies approach’ was needed to ensure that the plans helped reduce the educational gap and drive inclusive economic recovery so that those most likely to be suffering unemployment as a result of Covid-19 and recession, were helped back to work, reducing debt and financial hardship and improving on the built and natural environments to build a future that was pandemic proof and resilient to climate change.


The Chairman invited members to advise on how their organisation would contribute to the health and wellbeing recovery plan.


David Williams, Director of Strategy, BHT, stated that the Trust had over 6,000 staff and there were a number of initiatives to support their health and wellbeing, and the wellbeing of their families.  The Trust also had a responsibility to improve social value and ensured they contributed to reducing climate change and local employment through their contracts to increase economic health and wellbeing of the county.  Lastly, in terms of the delivery of the health services, and supporting those communities that specifically needed support; the respiratory and cardiac consultants’ were working with the CCG to provide support directly to GP practices. The school nurse, health visitor and maternity services provided continuity of care for some of the most vulnerable families and women.


Katie Higginson, Chief Executive Officer, Community Impact Bucks (CIB), stated that the VCS reached across all the priorities identified in the recovery plan and the depth of the information would help collectively build much more resilience into our communities.  The Voluntary Sector Recovery Partnership Board had been formed to help drive collaboration and strategic co-ordination between the voluntary sector and other partners such as the Council and health services and share insight into the impact of Covid-19 in the community. There were a number of task groups working on the identified priorities.  K Higginson requested for more information sharing and support to help those community groups tackle misinformation about Covid and offered to work with any partners of the HWB to cascade information to groups. 


Robert Majilton, Deputy Chief Executive, Buckinghamshire CCG, reported that staff had been trained to support people to make changes to improve their health.  The PCNs’ workforce was being expanded to increase the number of care navigators and social prescribers to support with signposting.  Work was being undertaken on the population health management process to improve information sharing.  There was also a programme involving the PCNs and wider partners looking at the priorities.  The Chairman agreed that a community-based, co-designed approach would be beneficial and recommended the CB Chairs met with the PCNs.


Jenny Baker, Chair, Healthwatch Bucks, commended the report and stressed the importance of everyone working together.  Healthwatch Bucks would continue to capture lived experiences of individuals and groups regarding services received.  Volunteers were being recruited to be the main link between the CBs, PCNs and PPGs.


Dr Vivek Khosla, Clinical Director for Buckinghamshire Mental Health Services, advised that the mortality gap for those with serious mental health issues was approximately 20 years.  Staff training had been improved over the last two years and the Service was embarking on a piece of work on the community mental health framework which would take three years from April 2021.  The aim was to create capacity and improve access to mental services for people who sometimes fell between the primary and secondary care networks.


The Chairman mentioned that the community hubs were poised in case of a second wave along with the CBs.  Approximately 150 staff had been redeployed at the start of the pandemic and the volunteer network was now managed by CIB and the Clare Foundation.  The funding group had provided over £1.5 million towards Covid related recovery. 


Dr O’Grady stated that a county-wide strategic group had been set up to bring together health and local authority partners to start drafting a specific plan to help protect the BAME groups from Covid-19.


In summary, there was a real impetus on how the Board could work together better, with a common purpose, to recover from Covid-19.  Dr O’Grady asked for anyone willing to help on the plan to contact her.


RESOLVED:  The Members of the Health and Wellbeing Board:


·       NOTED the high level findings from the Health Impact Assessment and APPROVED the emerging priorities of the Health and Wellbeing Recovery plan.

AGREED to contribute to the recovery plan and define the actions their organisations would take to support the priorities in the HWB Recovery plan.

Supporting documents: